Monday, December 18, 2006
They say there are two sides to every story and that’s usually true. There are also two (2) sides to this insert. Side #1 deals with something I enjoy talking & writing about…YOU…the “team” of prayer partners and donors that God has so graciously assembled. I know that it’s the Lord’s doing because of the diversity of people that have become involved in supporting this ministry in one way or another. As I filled out today’s bank deposit I was made aware of this again. Gifts from a Toronto Blue Jays security man, a lady I met back in the 70’s in my Christian bookstore, a couple I met years later when speaking at a church in another city, a baseball executive and a judge. They have all become a part of the EPISTLE team and we’re so grateful for your manyprayers and for your generous stewardship. When I scan our mailing list I see names of ballplayers I met back in the late 70’s when the Toronto Blue Jays were just getting started. There’s quite a diverse collection of names and addresses and each one has contributed to the ongoing success of EPISTLE SPORTS MINISTRIES. Names of several former Peterborough Petes are included. As we approach the end of another year we have so much to be grateful for. God has given us such an incredible team of friends and partners! THANK YOU is all I can say to each one of you who has stood with us and helped us make a difference in the lives of athletes. May the Lord bless you and make His presence known to you this Christmas season. He is worthy of our praise and adoration! Please read Side #2 for the “rest of the story”. Thanks for being on the “team”!
Side #2 – THE REST OF THE STORY!
2006 has been such an incredible year in many ways. We have been sustained by the Lord Himself in the midst of many trials and frustrating circumstances. Health concerns, situations with our two special needs sons, several difficult transitions and the ever-present issue of financial support have been on our hearts throughout the year. God has proven time and time again that He is faithful. “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” (Psalm 138:8) For over thirty (30) years the Lord has provided for EPISTLE SPORTS MINISTRIES in miraculous ways. My concern is that our regular, monthly donor list is so small that our faith is stretched each month as we trust God to provide ‘’the difference” in His own wonderful way. Perhaps this is faith-building but it’s also very stress-producing as well. For all these years I have maintained that “God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.” In times past we would be forced to build up credit card debt and then pay it off as the donations came in. As we approach the end of another fiscal year, we need an additional $35,000.00 to balance our books and cover our deficit. This can seem insurmountable but in the past God has met our needs in ways that we don’t expect or even understand. We have received individual gifts in the past that would wipe out this amount. Please join us in praying that this need would be met by the end of the year and that we would be able to launch into a new season of ministry in a strong, financial position. Thank you so much for hearing me out as I’ve related “the rest of the story”. We are trusting God for a miracle and we know that “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” – Eph. 3:20 - David
Can you believe it? We’re in the middle of the Christmas season and in a few days we’ll be into another new year…2007. It seems like just yesterday that we were lamenting the return of the kids to school in September and almost four months have passed since then.
It’s been a hectic time for the Fisher family. Our sons Matthew (11) and Nathan (10) started at a new school, Rhema Christian School, and our granddaughter Victoria (14) is in her first year of High School. It’s been quite a transition for all of us.
During the fall I had another bout with cellulitis in my face which put me on the shelf for a week. Several weeks later it appeared like the cellululitis had returned. Another week-long dose of antibiotics was prescribed as a preventative measure and we were grateful to learn that the condition hadn’t returned.
I spent a couple of nights in the Sleep Clinic at our local hospital and discovered that I do, in fact, have sleep apnea. For the last three weeks I’ve been using a CPAP machine each night. It’s still too early to see if I’m benefiting from “being plugged in” every night.
Our work with the Peterborough Petes continues to be very encouraging. After our trip to the Memorial Cup last May, we are in a rebuilding mode this season with a lot of rookies on the team. Building relationships with these young men has been so rewarding! They are so attentive and anxious to learn about the Christian life.
Transitioning away from our Baseball Chapel responsibilities with the Toronto Blue Jays was difficult but our relationship with the General Manager, J.P Ricciardi, and the Manager, John Gibbons, grew even stronger. Friendships with some Blue Jay players and visiting players were maintained and new friendships were formed as well during my mid-week visits to the ballpark. I sure missed those Sunday chapel services though! The preparation and presentation of messages was such a blessing!
The Lord continues to give us strength as we face the daily challenges of raising two adopted boys with special needs. Sometimes we’re ready to pull our hair out but we continue to see progress as these guys get older. We often say that bringing up these wonderful boys will either “keep us young or kill us”…one of the other. We love these guys dearly and Carol advocates for them in ways that continue to amaze me.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the Epistle ministry. Your love, interest, prayers and financial support have been appreciated so very much! Thanks for being part of the “team”! Without you we couldn’t continue! We know that!
We pray that you will be able to celebrate Christ’s incarnation and lowly birth in a meaningful way with family and friends. “O come let us adore Him…Christ, the Lord!”
Lots of love, David, Carol & family
P.S. Not your typical feel-good, everything’s rosy, kind of Christmas letter, eh! GOD IS GOOD THOUGH AND WE HAVE MUCH TO THANK HIM FOR!
THERE WAS NO SONG…
The following song/poem was birthed in my spirit two Christmases ago as I thought of the "songs in the night" that the Lord so graciously gives me. That night, when I awoke, there was no song, and that prompted my subsequent reflections. I'm so grateful for the words of the blind hymnwriter of a bygone day, Fanny Crosby, who penned these marvelous words: "I know I shall see in His beauty, The King in whose law in delight. Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps, and giveth me songs in the night."
There was no song In David’s town that evening; Where God incarnate Graced a rustic stall. Tired and taxed they came For Caesar’s census; So unaware that roy’lty Would call.
Then angels told The shepherds of His coming; They came to see Emmanuel, God’s Son. That dark, cold night Welcomed Christ the Savior; And glory reigned Before the night was done.
He came to bring Salvation and forgiveness; For which the world Had waited for so long. The Christ of God The hope of all the ages; Brought peace on earth And birthed a brand new song.
And now by faith In Christ the King of Glory; We are assured one day In heav’n a place. ‘Til then we’ll journey On our way rejoicing; And some day soon We’ll see Him face to face.
The trials endured As pilgrims heading homeward; Are temporary And will not last too long. So hand in hand We’ll cross the final valley; Eyes fixed on “home” We sing redemption’s song.
David W. Fisher – Dec. 2004
MINISTRY HIGHLIGHTS…2006 (in no particular order)
- Working with the Peterborough Petes during their OHL Championship season and going to the Memorial Cup with them in Moncton, NB
- Being presented with the Petes’ OHL Championship ring by their General Manager, Jeff Twohey
- The relationships with J.P. Ricciardi and John Gibbons of the Toronto Blue Jays
- My ongoing relationship with Gabe & Kelly Gross who were traded to the Milwaukee Brewers last year
- Becoming good friends with my BASEBALL CHAPEL successor, Nigel Wheeler
- The mentoring/encouraging friendship that David Shantz, the Peterborough Petes goaltender and I enjoyed last season
- Watching both Mike and Bud Fisher excel in their game…hockey…Mike with the Ottawa Senators and Bud with the Quinnipiac University Bobcats
- Moving into our new office in Peterborough and working closing with my two friends/colleagues who share office space in the same building, Mark Hines & David Kennedy
- Enjoying and strengthening my friendship with former Peterborough Pete, Steve Montador
- Being encouraged often during the season by Mike Sweeney of the Kansas City Royals
- Conducting a chapel service for the Otttawa Senators and building on my friendship with the Senators’ President, Roy Mlakar
- Being encouraged by the work of fellow Hockey Ministries International colleague Jamie Ramer as he, with the Lord’s enabling, was successful in seeing a number of new chapel programs started in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
- The encouragement received from the Commissioner of the OHL, David Branch who has become a good friend
- The ongoing friendships with BASEBALL CHAPEL leaders in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system
- Speaking at the Chaplains’ Roundtable in Lansing, MI again this year
- Spending a day with John & Kelly Olerud and their son Garrett when they were in Toronto earlier this season
It has been a rewarding year as we continue to develop our internet presence through our two (2) blogs, PILGRIM SCRIBBLINGS and the Barnabas Blog. The response from our readers has been very encouraging! Check out our sites at:
"...that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." - Romans 15:4b (ESV)
EPISTLE SPORTS MINISTRIES
294 Rink Street – Suite 101
Peterborough, ON K9J 2K2
Phone (705) 743-7650 ext. 2